Did You Know... That 95-99% of textiles are recyclable yet only about 15% are recycled? Reusing a garment in its original state uses 95% less energy than making a new garment.
What Will be the Fate of Your Unwanted Garment? You’re going to send it to ... Charity Shop Roughly 1 in 5 garments are clean enough and in good enough condition to put out to sell
Is the garment clean, pressed and undamaged?
One of those clothing collection bins Ebay, Craigslist, Etsy or for-profit resale store A Friend or Relative
Your garment will most likely be broken down chemically for use in items such as packaging and other plastic products
Hooray! Your piece will be reused.
No Yes Do you live in a rural area?
There is a decent chance that the clothing will be sold for reuse in a country such as Zambia or Uganda
Reusing this item in its original state uses 95% less energy than making a new garment.
There is a roughly 20% chance that your garment will be resold by the charity
Roughly 95% of all textiles are recyclable!
Your town is probably too far from a textile recycling facility to be worth transporting
No There is roughly 80% chance your garment will be sold by the non-profit to a “rag dealer”, a for-profit textile recycling company
Your garment will most likely end up as a cleaning wiper for industry
Your garment will most likely be recycled for use in items like stuffing, insulation and packaging or mixed with virgin fibers and spun into new yarn for use in items like carpet underlay, towels and upholstery
Is it moldy, wet or stained with bodily fluids?
Is your garment vintage or brand-name like Gap, Ralph Lauren or H&M? Yes Roughly 48% of clothing will be sold for reuse
Is it vintage and from a brand name? Is it made from a luxury fiber like cashmere or camel?
Is your garment made from a material that attracts oil like polyethylene or attracts water like cotton?
Is it made from mostly plant or animal fibers?
Yes These highly desirable items make up about 2% of all donated clothing
Is your garment a warm weather item? No
Should have kept it! Your clothing will most likely be sold to a wealthy collector or dealer This type of item accounts for the largest profit sector of many rag dealers
There is a decent chance that your garment will be sold for reuse in an Eastern European country
Is it a men’s or children’s item? Yes There is a good chance that your garment will be sold for reuse in a country such as India
Botticello, Julie "Between Classification, Objectification, and Perception: Processing Secondhand Clothing for Recycling and Reuse." Textile: The Journal of Cloth & Culture Volume 10, Issue 2 (2012): 164-183 Fletcher, Kate. Sustainable Fashion & Textiles: Design Journeys. London: Earthscan, 2008. Hawley, Jana M. "Textile Recycling as a System: A Micro/ Macro Analysis" Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Volume92, Issue 4 (2000): 40-43 Hawley, Jana M. "Digging for Diamonds: A Conceptual Framework for Understanding Reclaimed Textile Products" Clothing and Textiles Research Journal Volume 24, Issue 3 (2006): 262-275 Steinbring, Yvonne and Rucker, Margaret "Utilization of Post-Consumer Textiles and Clothing" Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Volume 95, Issue 2 (2003): 33-37
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